The Card

The Radeon VE looks strikingly similar to the Radeon SDR, most likely due to the fact that the two appear to be made on merely the same PCB. In contrast to the faster performing Radeon SDR, as well as other Radeon cards, the Radeon VE comes without a fan, only a heatsink. As we mentioned in our original Radeon DDR review, it seems that any Radeon core running at 183 MHz does not really even need a fan: the fan is most likely only added for aesthetic value, as people associate chips with fans on them as fast. In order to save costs even further, the Radeon VE skips the whole fan and uses just a standard heatsink. The heatsink does get hot to the touch, however it is unlikely that even this heatsink is necessary. It is attached via a layer of thermal glue.

The DVI-I port as well as S-video out port will come standard on every retail Radeon VE card sold. ATI includes these ports so that the user can take advantage of their HydraVision multiple monitor support (more on this later). Also included in every package is a Genic DVI-I to VGA converter that allows the card's DVI port to power any standard 15-pin monitor. Unlike some GeForce2 MX cards that claim TwinView support, users buying the Radeon VE can rest assured that the card will work with nearly every monitor they have, as well as every television with an S-video or composite input port. The DVI-I port is powered by the Radeon VE's internal TMDS transmitter.

Our Radeon VE came outfitted with 32MB of 5.5ns Hyundai RAM running at 183MHz, right at the spec of the memory. The card also supports 64MB and 16MB configurations, with the appearance of 16MB cards much more likely than 64MB ones, at least on the retail market. ATI has down OEM multipack versions of both a VGA only (no multi-monitor support) 16MB card, as well as a 64MB version of the card we are looking at today.

We were speaking about how much space removing both the Charisma engine as well as one of the rendering pipelines saved. By looking at the back of both the Radeon VE as well as the back of the Radeon SDR, we can take a guess (note that the pictures are to scale)..

Radeon VE Core
Radeon SDR Core

The answer seems to be a lot. Estimating die size by the rectangle of transistors on the back of the cards directly behind the core, you can see how much smaller the Radeon VE's core seems to be. This means big money savings for ATI.

Before we go on, let's take a look and see how the Radeon VE's numbers compare to the competition.

Video Card Specification Comparison
 
ATI Radeon VE
ATI Radeon SDR
NVIDIA GeForce2 MX
Matrox G450
3dfx Voodoo4 4500
Core
Rage6C
NV11
Napalm (VSA-100)

Clock Speed

183MHz
183MHz
175MHz
125MHz
166MHz
Number of Chips
1
1
1
1
1
Rendering Pipelines
1
2
2
2
2
Texels/Clock
3
3
2
1
1
Texels/Second
549 Million
1100 Million
700 Million
250 Million
333 Million
Memory Bus
64-bit DDR
128-bit SDR/DDR
128-bit SDR or 64-bit SDR/DDR
64-bit DDR
128-bit SDR
Memory Clock
183MHz DDR (366 MHz)
183 MHz SDR
166MHz SDR
166MHz DDR
166MHz SDR
Memory Bandwidth
2.9 GB/s
2.9 GB/s
2.7 GB/s
2.7 GB/s
2.7 GB/s
Manufacturing Process
0.18-micron
0.25-micron (Enhanced)
The Chip Multiple Monitor ATI's Way

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